Being a typical fan of Salt Lake’s offerings of slam poets, I was slightly disappointed at the display last night during the Nerd Poetry Slam. The formula for scores involved points awarded for the poets costume in conjunction with the poem, three qualifying nerd trivia questions and in slam poetry fashion, audience judge points for the poem itself. While in concept it seemed easy enough, the whole event was rather slap dash and poorly executed.
The panel judges were unable to ask any questions for the contestants preferred universe categories and defaulted to Star Wars trivia nearly every time. The poets themselves also appeared slightly unprepared for the slam. RJ Walker’s performance, though comedic, lacked his usual flair and relied too heavily on his elderly-mutant-ninja costume, giving his bit more of a prop comedy narrative feel.
Despite the lack of organization in the panel I was able to enjoy three pieces that I felt made attending worthwhile. A group piece by Ben Barker and Ryan Canter, which channeled the Calvin and Hobbes comics, combined a cultural reference to identify with and a ‘take with you’ life message—which is my preferred style of slam poetry. If I had the final say the duo would have won the evenings round, followed secondly by Angie Sarkis’ poem titled “Gah!”(we’ve all been there Angie) a poem from the point-of-view of Batman’s Robin. My third-prize winner would have been Amanda Gibson, whose poem hit my heartstrings by orchestrating the sentiments of Whovians alike. Jesse Parent’s poem about the radioactive spider that had his natural spider abilities stolen from him by Peter Parker, won first place for the night. Deservingly so, not only for the unique perspective of the poem, but also for his zealously animated performance and surprise ending. Had I been able to speak to him personally I would have suggested a comic series be written based off his poem.
Were it not been for those four, I would have considered the panel to be a waste of an otherwise valuable convention hour.
Check out our photo gallery for more photos from Fan Xperience 2015!